The sun was blasting down on Wrigley Field one Saturday afternoon in October 1932 during the World Series. Playoff games are always intense, and this one proved to be no exception. At the time, Babe Ruth was on the New York Yankees’ roster. As one of the best hitters of all time, he made an impact on the series, batting .333 and hitting 2 home runs, one of which was memorable and is still being talked about today. Baseball lore has Ruth calling his shot, but this fact is under dispute. Did he call his shot or not?
Background of the 1932 World Series
It was game three of the 1932 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Chicago Cubs. The Bronx Bombers were in Chicago, trying to push their series lead to three games. In spite of being down 2-0 to the Yankees, Cubs’ fans were fiercely vocal during pregame warm-ups.
More than 50,000 fans filled Wrigley Field, hurling lemons at Babe Ruth during batting practice, taunting the game’s most beloved player. Even before game three, the series was punctuated by a lot of trash-talking and furious arguments. The scenario was set for one of the biggest trash-talking acts in sports history.
A Dramatic Game
As the game progressed, it was clear that this was a somewhat dramatic game. New York inched their way out to a three run lead, but the Cubs chipped away at the Yankee margin, tying the game at four runs each heading into the fifth inning.
To further fuel the ferociousness of the Chicago crowd, Ruth made futile dive for a fly ball an inning earlier, partly responsible for the Cubs’ being able to pull even. At the midway point in the third game of the World Series, it was a nip-and-tuck affair, tied at 4-4.
Did He Call His Shot or Not?
It was during the fifth inning that Ruth made his legendary proclamation standing in the batter’s box. With the game tied at four, Ruth took a second strike from Chicago pitcher Charlie Root. As if in answer to the catcalls coming from the Chicago dugout, Ruth stepped out of the batter’s box.
As if on perfect cue from a Hollywood director, he seemed to make a pointing gesture towards Wrigley’s centerfield ivy-covered wall. What followed was the most famous 2-2 pitch in baseball history.
Ruth launched what is thought to be the longest home run ever hit at The Friendly Confines. There are some who insist that The Babe never really did point to centerfield. Some think he was just stretching the shirt sleeve the left arm of his Yankee Jersey.
Even Cubs hurler Charlie Root insisted that if he felt Ruth was showing him up, he’d have buried the pitch in the center of the number 3 on the back of his Yankee uniform. Baseball commissioner and his nephew were sitting in box seats, and while the bristly Kenesaw Mountain Landis had no comment, his nephew insisted it never happened.
This iconic moment in sports is so famous that it’s one of the most-used portrayals by young ballplayers. There is a single oil canvas painted during the 1930s depicting Ruth calling his shot, which is valued at nearly a half a million dollars. One thing is for certain, whether he really did call the shot or not, it’s one of the most memorable home runs in the history of baseball.